Q. Did James really say that, when painting horses or cows, the placement of the legs was most important? Tyler C
What James had actually been addressing was the issue of composition and the need to vary everything. This was most important when there were numerous animals in a painting. “It is distracting and annoying to see a forest of equally sized and spaced legs,” he said. The overall composition was most important and if an animals stance wasn’t working, then he changed the placement of the legs. The point was to have a pleasing variety of negative spaces among all the legs. Of course, he knew their anatomy well enough to adjust their musculature to mirror whatever changes he made. He felt variety was an under-estimated element in creating a successful composition.